The St. Thomas Aquinas College men's basketball team captured its seventh straight win, a 95-74 East Coast Conference triumph at New York Institute of Technology. STAC, ranked #22 in the nation and #1 in the East Region, now stands at 17-4 overall and 9-2 in the ECC, with NYIT dropping to 6-14, 4-8.
A tightly-contested first half saw the visitors jump to an early 12-3 lead, but Spartans holding a narrow 37-32 advantage with three minutes left, before a stunning 13-2 outburst gave the visitors a comfortable 50-34 cushion at halftime. That run was capped by a trio of three pointers - two by Aaron Cust and one by Adam Koziol - in the final 1:19 of the session.
STAC defense continued to apply the pressure after the break, holding the Bears to just five points in the first four minutes of the second half. Shaq McFarlan's dunk opened the gap to 70-49 just past the midway point of the second half, but the hosts showed life, with Kachi Nzerem's three cutting the margin to 80-65 with 4:12 remaining. That was as close as they were to get, however, as the Spartans kept the advantage at a safe distance the rest of the way.
Cust tied with NYIT's Jon Feiler with a game-high 24 points, with Chaz Watler adding 16, Justin Reyes 13, and McFarlan 12 for St. Thomas Aquinas. Nzerem added 17 for the Bears in a losing cause. STAC shot an impressive 53% from the field while yielding just 13 turnovers on the afternoon.
The Spartans now play their next two at home, returning to Aquinas Hall to host LIU Post on Wednesday, February 1, with game time at 7:30 pm. They then host the University of the District of Columbia on Saturday, February 4, with a 3:30 pm start.